Author Topic: Budget Pocket knives vs. Case Pocket knives  (Read 1227 times)

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Offline Moe M.

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Budget Pocket knives vs. Case Pocket knives
« on: March 27, 2019, 12:19:30 PM »
 I think I mentioned in another thread quite a while back, but I going to relate my experience with some new Case pocket knives that I purchased in a bundle deal at my local Lowes hardware store, Lowe's and Walmart built new stores in a neighboring town and closed their old stores, both were about 10 minutes from my place just across the MA./RI. state line, the two new stores are now about 20 minutes away, still in RI.
 Just before making the move and closing the old store Lowe's started putting some items up on sale, they had a large selection of Case Pocket knives and at the end of the sale they marked what was left down by about 80%, the average knife was retailing at about $60.00 and were on sale for about $16.00 dollars, so I bought eight of them, I gave most away to friends as birthday and Christmas gifts, my wife kept a small blue bone toothpick to carry in her purse, I kept a medium sized Yellow bone sow belly stockman for myself as an every day pocket knife.
 I have had a few vintage Case pocket knives in the past and they gave me (still are) good service, and I assumed the new one would as well,  so I slipped the new case into my right front pants pocket where I've always carried my pocket knives over the years, well a couple of weeks went by before I had occasion to need my knife, when I took it out of my pocket and tried to open the blade I almost broke my thumb nail, the blades had rusted so badly that I had to use small pliers to pry them open, the knife was a mess of rust.
 I figured it was my fault for not cleaning off any preservative that Case may have applied to it for shipping and not oiling it before slipping it into my pocket, so I spent a few hours cleaning off most of the rust and getting it working again,  within a week or so it started to rust again, so I just put it away after cleaning and oiling it again and put it out of my mind and went back to carrying my old '70's era vintage Case Sodbuster Jr., it's been a great knife and rusted friend.
 About a year ago someone gifted me a Rough Rider three bladed Sow Belly stockman in brown smooth bone from their "Outdoorsman" series and I took to carrying that knife for a while and it's still in my pocket as I write this, it's been a great knife, being made of 440-A stainless with brass bolsters and liners it hasn't rusted, it takes a good edge and keeps it through a lot of work, and unlike my Buck knives it's easy sharpen, all I've had to do to it is hone it once in while and it stays working sharp.
 What's really surprising about this and the few other Rough Rider knives that I've picked up since is just how well built they are, the blades have not loosened over time, the springs haven't weakened from use, the blades still snap when opened or closing, and the bone scales are just like new, I've had a few high end bone scales crack where the pins are over time, these have not, and the fit and finish on the few Rough Riders that I have is equal to or better than the new Case knives that I bought.
 Those that know me know that I'm kind of a gear nut and usually I buy the best that I can afford,  I really don't know how Rough Rider can make such high quality pocket knives and sell them for under $20.00 retail, all I do know is that they do and I hope they continue to keep their quality up and their prices reasonable, from what I understand they've been doing it for about 20 years, so far so good.
 I called Case a while back to tell them of my dis pleasure with the Case knives I bought, the girl that I talked to knew right away what the trouble was, she said it's because of the CV steel that they use in most of their lower end (under $70.00) knives, it has a tendency to rust quickly when any level of humidity is present, she told me to send it back and they would replace it with a similar model in stainless free of charge, she also said that most people today that buy Case knives are collectors and not users, I can only assume that's why they use the cheaper steel in their lower end knives, to keep the price down, or the profits up.
 For what it would cost me in time and postage to wrap it up and mail it back I can buy a similar model Rough Rider that I can count on, so I'll keep the Case, clean it up and try to  force a patina on it to curb the rusting and maybe order me a new Rough Rider medium Trapper with real stag scales with the money I save.

 So, the moral of my story is, if you are the type who carries a working pocket knife and appreciates quality but can't afford to buy a High priced name brand pocket knife, take a look at the Rough Rider line, you won't be sorry.
 From what I understand the brand is owned by Smokey Mountain Knife Works, and Rough Rider is now making most of Marbles Pocket and fixed blade hunting knives for Marbles, so if you've heard bad things about Marbles quality in the past, that may be changing, I also hear that most of Marbles axes are being made by Condor Tool and Knife in El Salvador and are getting good reviews.
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Offline madmax

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Re: Budget Pocket knives vs. Case Pocket knives
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2019, 12:38:21 PM »
Smoky Mountain Knife Works have just about any folder you would want.  If I remember correctly they have several loooong display counters of Rough Riders. The biggest challenge in that store is getting out of a 3 story knife store without blowing a huge amount of time and money.  Regardless of the price of a little folder,  temptation abounds.


My nephew loves "theme" knives.  It's an inexpensive gift.

I just thought of a niche knife companies could fill.  Seniors like their nails trimmed.  They have to get in and weed eat nose hair.  How about a two bladed folder for that?
« Last Edit: March 27, 2019, 12:43:29 PM by madmax »
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Budget Pocket knives vs. Case Pocket knives
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2019, 01:33:16 PM »
That nail-trimming reference reminds me of how Heather always winces  :doh: when she sees me doing my weekly manicure with my SAK.  I try to remember to do it immediately upon emerging from the shower when my nails are nice & soft...which leads to a nicely carved arc with no 'tear-outs' or whiskering on the nails' edges.  The nose hair trimming (via SAK) I haven't quite mastered yet...... and PLEASE don't tell me that's what the tweezers & corkscrew are for! :rolleyes:
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Offline madmax

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Re: Budget Pocket knives vs. Case Pocket knives
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2019, 02:02:02 PM »
Corkscrew!  LMAO!
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
Hunter S, Thompson

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Budget Pocket knives vs. Case Pocket knives
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2019, 04:17:46 PM »
I have a Case Trapper two blade, probably about five years old.  Yellow Delrin handles.  No rust and it is used once in awhile. 

Years ago I cut myself pretty badly when a slipjoint folded up on me.  Since then I am pretty careful but prefer to use locking blades of some kind.  Case knives at my local farm store start about $60 and are never on sale.  I have heard of Rough Riders and will look at them when my current Kershaw lockback needs a friend.  Thanks for mentioning them Moe.

A nail clipper knife would be great but probably won't happen.  I try cutting my nails with a knife blade but the results kind of look like I chew my nails.  Nose hair cutters are out of the question.  I bought this electric thing you stick up each nostril and spin around for awhile.  Clean as a newly laid piece of pipe.  (I was gonna say as a baby's butt but was reminded of some of them I have seen)    :P
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Budget Pocket knives vs. Case Pocket knives
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2019, 04:48:38 PM »
Like you, Moe, I have long espoused the merits of the Rough Rider line of pocket knives. :cheers:    There's really nothing bad to say about them.   The blades 'walk & talk' really well on the majority of them, with the big Granddaddy Barlows & Trappers being the exceptions.....they require a thick thumbnail to overcome the unnecessarily heavy backsprings in those two models.  Their model #RR533 is what you would  think of when someone mentions "Boy Scout Knife".....SOLID nickel-silver bolsters, spear-point main blade, longer-than-normal screwdriver/cap lifter, longer-than-normal NEEDLE-like punch/awl, and a can opener that defies description.  The can opener is designed that way because it is made to mimic the very first patented can opener that was invented soon after food was being packaged in metal tins.  It works, but not as well as the more familiar designs that we see on SAKs today.  Like Moe said, as far as fit & finish goes, the RR Knives are hard to beat for the price-point! :thumbsup:

The scales are also very nicely finished....and they have a lot of styles & materials to choose from, too.  My favorite scale material is made from dyed cow bone in the 'Ram's Horn' pattern.....dyed and sculpted to closely resemble real ram's horn, it is eye-catching and provides a good grip when wet or greasy.

Don't be afraid of them, they're WOLFY APPROVED!  :thumbsup:
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Offline Mannlicher

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Re: Budget Pocket knives vs. Case Pocket knives
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2019, 05:17:31 AM »
I thought a Case knife WAS a budget knife.

Offline NMpops

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Re: Budget Pocket knives vs. Case Pocket knives
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2019, 11:48:04 PM »
if you would bother to actually look at the prices at any Case retailer you would find that there is no difference between CV & SS models (i.e. the Trapper in CV or SS with Amber Bone scales lists at $49.99)  Some actually prefer CV because they say it holds an edge better. Yes it takes some extra care especially if you live where it's humid.  I live in Arizona and have no issues with CV rusting.  CV is basically 1095 with a little extra Chromium.  GEC knives use a lot of 1095 and they are not inexpensive.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Budget Pocket knives vs. Case Pocket knives
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2019, 11:09:20 AM »
 OK, I agree with you on a couple of points, one, if you're from Arizona Case knives rusting should not be a problem, but come up here to New England, the upper Pacific coast, Canada, Alaska, or some of the southern states where flooding is common and Rust is a huge problem, How many car buffs do you know from your neck of the woods who buy original classic cars and trucks to restore from New England ?
 And Two, expensive is a subjective term, I own some pretty expensive Bush Craft knives that run from $250.00 0n up to about $1250.00,  they are specialty knives that are used occasionally while hiking, camping, and hunting, my pocket knives (which ever I decide to carry) are with me constantly and are subjected to all kinds of uses such as cutting cardboard, opening mail and shipping cartons, cleaning small game and fish, peeling fruit, cutting cordage and once in a while a good charcoal grilled steak among other tasks.
 They ride in my right front pocket usually and are subjected to heat, cold, humid, and sometimes wet conditions, all of which contribute greatly to rust even under the best of care, most of my pocket knives are vintage high carbon steel, US made Gerber, Case, Ulster, Camillus, Buck, Imperial, and American Blade to name a few, all are well used and still in fine condition for their age and use,  and I don't remember paying more than $30.00 for any one of them new,  while I understand that priced increase with the years and inflation, I would expect to pay more for a good quality knife today and I don't mind the increase, as long as I'm still getting the same quality, and that's my complaint with Case products.
 They have become collectibles and shied away from being working knives,  they still demand prices that run from $45.00 to $150.00 or more, they are pretty there's no question about that, but the truth is they don't hold up to hard use like they used to,  one of my favorite pocket knives is a 40 year old Case Sodbuster Jr. the scales are pocket worn and have a few nicks and the blade has an aged patina, it's been carried and used a lot over the years but it doesn't have a spec of rust on it or inside it, and the blade is still tight with no side to side wobble, more than I can say for a new Case Sodbuster in stainless that I picked up on sale about a year ago,  after a few uses the blade has loosened up and the back spring is already getting weak, IMHO it's a piece of junk compares to my older one.
 If I sound bias, I am, I'm biased against paying for quality and getting junk in return, not just with Case Knives but with any product that has been cheapened in order to increase the bottom line at the expense of the consumer, Let me ask you, why is it that my half dozen Rough Rider pocket knives that cost me about $15.00 each on average and have the same or better fit and finish as any of my Case knives hold up better and resist rust and corrosion 100% better than my newer Case Knives do at an average price of About $60.00 each ?
 About the only answer I can come up with is that Case is no longer interested in making quality knives that hold up to hard work and harsh conditions, all they care about is making them pretty enough to get people to buy them and put more profit in their coffers.
 Back to the term budget,  as far as working pocket knives go budget to me means anything under $30.00, any more and it's expensive, it may be worth the additional money, but it's still expensive.   
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline NMpops

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Re: Budget Pocket knives vs. Case Pocket knives
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2019, 04:41:13 PM »
While I'm not here to defend Case, I know they did have some obvious QC problems in the late 90's to the early 2000's  but since then quality has been excellent. I do not generally buy CV but instead buy SS as I really don't want to spend the time wiping and oiling pocket knives. Pocket knives will rust even in Arizona if you carry them in sweaty pockets.  While not an RR fan I do own a couple of the new Schrade knives and find their quality excellent.
 As a note some of the best knives, as far as F&F goes are the old  Schrade USA knives such as the 30OT, 96OT, 12OT That are absolutely beautiful especially considering they cost in the $29 range back in the 90's. 

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Budget Pocket knives vs. Case Pocket knives
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2019, 11:37:04 AM »
I bought my neighbor a Case small stockman for a gift earlier this year to thank him for some things he did for me.  I was embarrassed by the finish on the blades.  They looked like they were rough ground and left unfinished.  Took it back to the selling dealer and we looked at six or so he had in stock.  All of them from a blade finish standpoint were very poor.  He likes Case a lot so I gave him one with the best stag scales they had on hand.  It was a $60 knife that had a $5 dollar finish.

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
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